Friday Frappé: Patience is a Virtue but can Greece afford it?
In this week’s edition of the Friday Frappé, AGONAsport’s Peter Katsiris explains why Thursday’s win over Finland proves patience is required as Greece begin their journey under Angelos Anastasiadis…
In his first game in charge, Angelos Anastasiadis was able to steer Greece to a narrow 1-0 win over Finland as the Ethniki resumed their UEFA Nations League campaign with a new man at the helm.
The win, which came courtesy of an Albin Granlund own goal, wasn’t pretty but might be seen as a slight improvement to Greece’s last outing – a 2-0 loss to the Finns which marked the end of Michael Skibbe’s run as manager of the National Team shortly thereafter.
Unfortunately, the result wasn’t enough to keep Greece’s hopes of promotion to League B alive as Finland confirmed their grasp on the tiebreaker between the two nations regardless of just a three-point gap in the standings with yet another round of games looming in the horizon.
Of course, the initial reaction to realization that Greece’s maiden Nations League campaign won’t extend past the group stage – provided Finland don’t qualify for EURO 2020 via the traditional qualification method – is disappointment as Greece failed to take advantage of a somewhat golden opportunity to return to the European Championship after missing out in 2016.
Instead, however, it’s clear that fans of the Ethniki will need to be patient as Anastasiadis continues to turn over the personnel on the pitch as members of an older regime are ushered out of the squad.
Perhaps the biggest concern for Greece is the fact that Anastasiadis’ appointment doesn’t come at an ideal time with the Greek manager only expected to have two games to prepare for Greece’s EURO 2020 Qualifying campaign, which is set to kick-off in March of 2019.
Although there will be plenty of homework done by Anastasiadis and his assistants once Greece’s qualifying adversaries are revealed in the qualifying round draw on 2 December, the lack of time for Anastasiadis to assert his philosophy could only work against the Ethniki’s bid for progress.
While he is no stranger to the international game after a seven-year stint as Cyprus’ manager from 2004 through to 2011, it will be interesting to see how Anastasiadis will manage the cards dealt to him and his ability to inject youth into the squad. What will be important, however, is for fans of the Ethniki to remain patient as the Ethniki and their new manager deal with a brand of adversity that would make any long-term success that much sweeter.